The United States Army 2nd Infantry Division is a Stryker type infantry division that is primary tasked with defending South Korea during the initial stages of a North Korean invasion pending reinforcement from other US military units. This division is made up of about 17,000 troops. More than 10,000 of this number is currently deployed to South Korea, with the United States Forces Korean personnel making up about 35% of this number. This makes the unit special because it is the only US military unit that is partially composed of South Korean indigenes. This is called KATUSA, which stands for Korean Augmentation of the US Army. The KATUSA program began with the agreement of the first president of South Korea in 1950. When the Korean War ended, about 27,000 KATUSAs were serving in the US military. By May, 2006, a little above 1,000 KATUSA troops were stationed with the 2nd Infantry Division.
The 2nd Infantry Division was first organized in the traditional army on the 26th of October, 1917 in France. It was composed, at this time, of the 3rd Infantry Brigade as well as the 5th Machine Gun Battalion. The 2nd Infantry Division was deployed during World War I and were commanded by USMC Generals. These Marine Generals were Charles Doyen and John Lejeune. This is the only time in the history of the US military that an Army division would be led by officers of the Marine Corps. The division’s first contact with the enemy during the First World War was along the road to Metz from Paris. Here, they were instrumental in decisively ending the four-year long impasse and leading to a victory in the Chateau-Thierry campaign. Major General Lejeune remained the commander of the 2nd ID from 1918 to 1919 when the unit was retired back to the United States. The 2nd ID fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and were instrumental in shattering Germany’s anticipation for success. About 1,900 troops were killed in action and about 9,700 were injured during World War I.
The 2nd ID fought in World War II and their first offensive was at Omaha Beach on the day after D-Day (known as D plus 1). This was on the 7th of June, 1944. After emancipating the town of Trevieres, they went on to take Hill 192 on orders from the Commanding General, Walter Robertson. The 2nd ID invaded Germany on the 3rd of October, 1944. About 3,000 were killed during the division’s engagement in the European Theatre of Operations during the Second World War. About 12,700 were injured, from which more than 400 lost their lives.
Units of the 2nd ID partook in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They also fought in the War in Afghanistan, where they were ordered to because of the worsening situation. Current units within the 2ID include the 16th Mechanized Brigade, the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the 2nd Division Combat Aviation Brigade, and the 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade.